MURE CAMPBELL, James (1726-86), of Rowallan, Ayr and Lawers, Perth.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1754 - 1761

Family and Education

b. 11 Feb. 1726, o.s. of Hon. Campbell, M.P., of Lawers (3rd s. of James, 2nd Earl of Loudoun [S]) by Lady Jean Boyle, da. of David, 1st Earl of Glasgow [S] and h. of the Mures of Rowallan.  m. 30 Apr. 1777, Flora, da. of John Macleod of Raasay, Inverness, 1da.  suc. mother at Rowallan, and took name of Mure 1729, fa. 1745, and cos. as 5th Earl of Loudoun 27 Apr. 1782.

Offices Held

Cornet 2 Drag. 1740, lt. 1742, capt. 1745; maj. 11 Drag. 1754; capt. 3 Ft. Gds. 1756; lt.-col. 2 Drag. Gds. 1757; lt.-col. 21 Drag. 1762; col. 1762; half pay 1763; maj.-gen. 1781.


Mure Campbell succeeded to estates heavily encumbered by debts. He nominated as his sole curator, ‘in whom he would find a father and friend’,1 his cousin John, 4th Earl of Loudoun, on whose advice he sold part of his Perthshire estates2 but was dissuaded from disposing of Lawers by the protests of his father’s friends. Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre wrote to him, 4 June 1751:

I really think ... it’s very much in your power to make yourself and family as considerable in this county [Perthshire] as your friends could wish ... If your inclinations are to push forward in the army, undoubtedly being in Parliament is the only way; and to obtain that I think you have as good a chance, by being laird of Lawers, as Rowallan.

Mure Campbell had little interest in politics, and was not even enrolled as an elector in Ayrshire when, in July 1753, Loudoun put him forward as a candidate at the forthcoming general election.3 He left the management of the election almost entirely to his cousin, who, through Lord Cathcart, secured Argyll’s and Pelham’s support for Mure Campbell’s candidature.4 Despite opposition from Patrick Craufurd and Archibald Montgomerie, Mure Campbell was returned by a great majority.

Loudoun promised Newcastle to be answerable for Mure Campbell’s ‘zeal and firm attachment to the King’.5 Mure Campbell made no mark in the House, and was guided in his political conduct by Loudoun and Argyll. He voted, 2 May 1757, with Newcastle and Fox on the Minorca inquiry, and played an equivocal part in the agitation for a Scottish militia.

The quarrel between Argyll and Bute in the last years of George II’s reign had its effect on Mure Campbell’s position in Ayrshire. In the new reign Loudoun was active in negotiating a settlement, of which one condition was that Archibald Montgomerie should represent Ayrshire in the new Parliament. When Argyll’s death on 15 Apr. 1761 led to a re-distribution of family seats, there was a suggestion that Mure Campbell might come in for Glasgow Burghs;6 but Loudoun did not press his candidature and the idea was dropped. Mure Campbell, who was on active service in Germany, accepted his exclusion from Parliament without resentment, and never stood again.

He died 28 Apr. 1786.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Mure Campbell to Loudoun, undated, but apparently 1745. All references in this biography, unless otherwise stated, are to Loudoun mss.
  • 2. Mure Campbell to Loudoun, 19 Mar., 28 Dec. 1751.
  • 3. Same to same, 18 July 1753.
  • 4. Cathcart to Loudoun, 25 Aug. 1753.
  • 5. Add. 32735, f. 265.
  • 6. Ld. Lorne to Loudoun, 21 Apr. 1761.